Ellison, calling protesters’ grievances ‘legitimate,’ urges Egypt to stop using violence


With violence escalating in Egypt, where protesters are taking to the street in opposition to government corruption, unemployment and poverty, Rep. Keith Ellison has released a statement urging Egyptian authorities to stop using force against its citizenry, which the Minnesota Democrat says have “legitimate grievances.”

Released Friday afternoon, the statement, cosigned by Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Jim McGovern (D-MA), reads:

We are deeply concerned with the Egyptian government’s use of security forces and violence against demonstrators throughout Egypt.  Egyptians are on the streets to address legitimate grievances.  Such heavy-handed response will only exacerbate the frustration of these protestors, many of whom are young people who are fed up with the lack of political freedoms, as well as poverty and the lack of other opportunities.   We call on the Government of Egypt to stop using violence against its own people; allow the free flow of information over the Internet, phone networks and in the media; immediately release Mohamed ElBaradei and all others wrongly detained; and allow reforms toward a more democratic election process.

We fully support the Obama administration’s resolve to stand with the people of Egypt and we encourage the Obama administration to escalate its call for political and economic reforms in Egypt.  U.S. Congress will carefully observe the situation in Egypt in the upcoming days, particularly in order to ensure that no U.S. assistance or equipment is used in the violent suppression of peaceful protests.

Follow updates on the protests at AlJazeera’s liveblog.